There was face painting, food, entertainment and more when more than 200 people gathered at Functions on Hastings at the end of July to celebrate the Hastings District Council Multicultural Strategy.
Developed in response to Hastings becoming increasingly culturally diverse, the strategy is the first of its kind for any council in the North Island.
Devised by a multicultural strategy working group, comprising council and community representatives, it seeks to celebrate multiculturalism and diversity ensuring people of all cultures have equitable access to Council services and facilities, and help all residents to feel empowered to participate in council decision-making.
Hawke’s Bay Multicultural Association president Sukdheep Singh, who was part of the working group, said that as a migrant he saw the strategy as being important in many ways.
“In 2010, when I came here, I used to see only a few people and felt like I am different and do not belong here. Today, when I walk in the town, I am proud to see a diverse and beautiful city where our ethnic communities make a massive economic and social contribution to the Hawke’s Bay community.
“This strategy is a living document and may change with the needs of our communities and provide an opportunity to address the challenges of our multicultural communities for better wellbeing.
With community support, I firmly believe that we will achieve social cohesion in Hastings where everyone feels welcome, respected, and safe. No one needs to be a victim of racism, abuse, or remarks that can have a lifelong impact.”
Hastings mayor Sandra Hazlehurst said it was a fantastic event with a real sense of togetherness and pride among those who attended.
“As a council, with our community, we have a responsibility to ensure all of our people feel included, connected and welcome – a place where we all belong.
“This strategy will help us achieve that, as well as providing a pathway to give everyone meaningful opportunities to celebrate and share their culture, and fully participate in our democracy.
Mrs Hazlehurst acknowledged and thanked the members of the Multicultural Strategy working group who worked hard to bring the project to fruition.
To read the 2020-2025 Multicultural Strategy go to www.hastingsdc.govt.nz/documents-and-forms/strategies/
28 July 2021
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